As Nic Menzano skated along the ice at the Ice Station Valencia and slid to a halt, spraying chunks of ice up from his skates, he chuckled.
“I never skate without something in my hand,” the Valencia resident said.
Whether it was a stick or a shovel, Menzano has always skated with a purpose — either for hockey or as part of a team’s ice crew.
In fact, Menzano was recently selected to join the Los Angeles Kings Ice Crew for the upcoming hockey season.
“I was a big hockey fan growing up, and I always went to Kings games as a kid,” he said, adding that he would always watch the Ice Crew come onto the ice with their shovels, thinking to himself, “‘Hey, that looks like such a cool job,’ getting to be that close to the game and everything happening.”
This thought remained in the back of his mind as something he really wanted to try while he played hockey through high school.
When he graduated from Hart High School in 2017, he was finally able to pursue it, and made it onto the ice crew of the Reign, the Kings’ minor league team that plays in Ontario, about 90 minutes from Santa Clarita.
Though it was a far drive, which Menzano had to make at least twice a week, he still had a really great time and said, “Doing it for the minor league team first was a great way to learn what it’s all about.”
“I was on the ice pretty much every game, and I loved doing it,” he added.
In June, he auditioned again, this time securing a spot on the Kings Ice Crew, which was “a really great step in the right direction,” he said.
“I didn’t know how successful I’d be, but I’m really glad I was,” Menzano added, especially for his favorite sports team.
Though known for skating onto the ice to remove snow build-up during media timeouts, the Ice Crew has quite a few other duties, including representing the Kings organization at games, events and throughout the community.
“As Ice Crew, we have to do a lot of things,” Menzano said. “We make appearances around town at charity events, promotional events, all kinds of things.”
During game days, the team will assist with on-ice contests and activities, while also interacting with fans to ensure they have the best experience possible, which Menzano said he loves to do.
“In Ontario last year, there were a few people that you would always see at the games — the season ticket holders,” he said. “They would know who you were and you would know who they were. It was really cool because they would always get so excited to see you.”
“Even this year with the Kings, I’ve already seen people that are really die-hard fans and really into it,” Menzano said, adding that he’s excited to build a relationship with fans he’s going to see at every game. “It’s really cool to be a part of that.”
So far, the Kings Ice Crew has been doing a lot of appearances before the start of the season, but it’s finally time for pre-season games to begin.
“That will be the first time we get an in-game experience, so that’ll be really fun,” he said.
While Menzano enjoys being on the ice, he has other hobbies as well, in addition to being a student at College of the Canyons.
“I love to play music as well, and I play drums in a band,” he said. “We work really well together, and we just recorded an album that we worked on all summer. It’s finally finished, so that should be coming out soon. We’re really excited.”
The band, People for Culture, has been able to play shows around Santa Clarita and L.A., including at venues like the Whiskey a Go Go, The Mint and The MAIN for SCVTV’s Soundcheck, which features local talent.
With a hand in many things, Menzano still doesn’t know what his future holds just yet.
“I love to be a musician … I think that’s really my first love, but I can say I love sports just as much, and working for the Kings is great,” he said. “I’m just going to keep doing what I love and see what happens.”
And this is exactly what he suggests anyone else in his position do.
“If you want something, go and get it, because I feel like that’s what I’ve lived by my whole life,” he said. “It has yet to let me down and I have gotten to do a lot of really cool things because of it.”